Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Tea Post #2: The Collection



Sometimes, as the saying goes, a picture, or, as in this case, pictures can say a thousand words. This is my current tea collection. So, as you can see, I am indeed a mad tea drinking Englishman.

These pictures represent the current full inventory of my tea, but only shows a small portion of my tea ware. The vast majority of my tea pots and special tea cups are all currently in storage, since I don't have room for them in my current rather crappy small place. Notable tea pots in my possession include a couple of all glass tea pots which are ideal for "flowering" teas (teas which are skilfully bound such that they open out to form a flower as they infuse in the water), a genuine Chinese Yixing (Yisha clay) teapot, and a Japanese cast iron teapot (tetsubin).



In this picture, amongst other things, you can see a Chinese Gong-fu clay teaware set which I recently bought whilst on holiday in Sweden[1] (I bought it from the rather splendid Tea Centre of Stockholm) consisting of a gaiwan, water jug, six small cups, all resting on a water tray. You can also see a Japanese matcha bowl (bought from a tea shop in Tokyo) with a bamboo whisk and spoon, along with a small tin of high grade matcha tea. It also shows a rather lovely green teapot which I picked up in a second hand shop in Sweden for the equivalent of just a few pounds!









The last picture shows a couple of my tea measures (a tea measure is roughly equivalent to a generously heaped tea spoon) along with a white gaiwan, a tea ball, and a couple of strainers.

As you can probably imagine, I quite literally have a small chest of drawers dedicated exclusively to storing all these teas!

Here is the current inventory of teas. Where I know and can remember, I've linked to the company who supplied the particular tea, the country of origin (except for blends which consist of multiple teas), and where appropriate the estate that produced the tea. I purchased quite a lot of tea whilst visiting Japan in May 2007, and obviously since I can't read Japanese I cannot decipher the labels! I simply know what types of tea I bought. So that is why there is little information for a number of the green teas.

Technically speaking, only drinks containing an infusion from Camellia sinensis leaves should be called tea; other types of drink commonly called teas such as herbal infusions like Chamomile, Redbush or Lapacho or the hot brightly coloured cordial drinks popularly sold in Turkey should not be called tea. Rather, such alternative infusions are properly known as a Tisane.


Key:

R = Ronnefeldt
C = Covent Garden Tea Centre
W = Whittard of Chelsea
B = Robert Wilson Ceylon Teas
K = Kränku Tea & Coffee
N = Nothing But Tea
L = Lipton Teas
T = Taylors of Harrogate
S = Tea Centre of Stockholm
D = Drury Tea & Coffee Company
O = Kobbs Tea
G = Twinings Tea
P = Clipper

M = Morrisons Supermarket

Black tea

  • Himalayan TGFOP (R, Nepal)
  • Darjeeling FTGFOP First Flush (R, India, Nurbong Estate)
  • Covent Garden Tea Centre Superior Darjeeling (C, India)
  • Assam TGFOP (R, India, Bukhail Estate)
  • Nilgiri (W, India)
  • Lovers Leap FBOP (B, Sri Lanka, Mahagastota)
  • Brunswick BOP (B, Sri Lanka, Maskeliya)
  • Uva Light FP (B, Sri Lanka, Uva)
  • Western New Season BOP (B, Sri Lanka)
  • Kränku Kora Kundah (K)
  • Mayan Gold (N)
  • Yunnan FOP (R, China)
  • Lipton Ceylon Tea (L, Sri Lanka)

Black blended/flavoured tea


  • Morrisons "The Best" English Breakfast (M)
  • Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast (T)
  • Taylors of Harrogate English Breakfast (T)
  • Taylors of Harrogate China Rose Petal (T)
  • Tea Centre of Stockholm Söderblandning (S)
  • Tea Centre of Stockholm Earl Grey Special (S)
  • Tea Center of Stockholm Tea Centre Blend (S)
  • Whittard Of Chelsea English Breakfast (W)
  • Drury Tea Company Imperial Afternoon (D)
  • Kränku Kalkstensdrömmar (K)
  • Kränku Munkte (K)
  • Kränku Borgablandning (K)
  • Kränku Tillfalig Teblanding (K)
  • Kränku Jubileumsblandning (K)
  • Kränku Fläderblom (K)
  • Kränku Visby Varldsarvte (K)
  • Kränku Earl Grey blå blom (K)
  • Kränku Earl Grey Cream (K)
  • Covent Garden Tea House Choco Truffle (C)
  • Lipton Indian Spice (L)
  • Lipton Russian Earl Grey (L)
  • Kobbs Lingonlantan (O)
  • Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea (G)
  • Twinings Lady Grey Tea (G)
  • Snostjana (?)

Green tea


  • Chinese green tea (?)
  • Bancha (?, Japan)
  • Kukicha (C, Japan)
  • Gyokuro (?, Japan)
  • Gyokuro (?, Japan)
  • Gyokuro (?, Japan)
  • Matcha 1st Grade (?, Japan)
  • Sencha (?, Japan)
  • Gu Zhang Mao Jian (R, China)
  • Clipper Organic Green Tea (P, China)
  • Dragon Well (Lung Ching) (D, China)
  • Imperial Gunpowder (T, China)

Green blended/flavoured tea

  • Green Lemon (R, Japan)
  • Morning Dew (R, Japan
  • Genmaicha (W, Japan)

Oolong tea

  • Formosa Oolong (C, Taiwan)
  • Ti Kuan Yin (N, Taiwan)
  • Black Dragon (N, Taiwan)

White tea

  • Pai Mu Tan (R, China)
  • Silver Needle Yin Zhen (N, China)
  • Georgian Old Lady (N, Georgia)
  • Georgian Old Gentleman (N, Georgia)

Pu-erh (red) tea

  • Pu-erh PS (R, China)
  • Pu-erh Mini Toucha (C, China)

Artisan/flowering tea


  • Jade Column (N, China)
  • Silvery Strawberry (N, China)

Tisanes

  • Rooibos Earl Grey (K, South Africa)
  • Rooibos Sea Buckthorn (N, South Africa)
  • Honeybush (N, South Africa)
  • Lapacho (N, South America)
  • Rooibos Vanilla Bourbon (C, South Africa)

So, technically speaking, at this precise moment in time I have about 64 teas and 5 tisanes in total! Obviously this number goes up and down as I use up tea and replenish it! Generally speaking though, I'll always have well in excess of 50 types of tea available to drink in my collection.

What can I say? I like a good cup of tea :-)

[1] I have just been on holiday in Sweden for two and half weeks, hence the silence on this blog... Post, or posts, to follow, on my trip.